When mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras burst onto the scene and first hinted at their staying power, the apparent savings in size and weight compared to DSLRs was touted as a major advantage of mirrorless systems.
The thinking was that if you hated having to carry around a bulky, heavy DSLR and lens all the time, switching to mirrorless would solve that problem.
It didn’t work out quite as some people had hoped. In many instances, once you stick a lens on a mirrorless body, you’re not seeing that much of a size/weight advantage over a DSLR setup.
Of course, there are exceptions — Olympus, Panasonic and Fujifilm camera bodies and lenses tend to be compact. But there are even exceptions to this exception.
I guess this just serves as a stark reminder that there’s no such thing as a perfect camera. If, however, you hate carrying around a bulky camera, no matter DSLR or mirrorless, you do have other options.
Here are five compact cameras that you’ll actually enjoy carrying everywhere you go.
The thing that, perhaps, stands out most about Fujifilm’s X100 series is its looks. It has the looks of a classic film rangefinder, which seems to appeal to just about everyone.
The camera is slim and lightweight and has an APS-C sensor. The 23mm f/2 lens provides a 35mm field of view. The perfectly arranged physical dials make the camera a breeze to operate.
The current iteration, the X100F, boasts a 91-point hybrid autofocus system and the third generation of Fujifilm’s infamous X-Trans sensor (now packing 24-megapixels).
Older versions of the X100 remain viable options, even the original 12-megapixel X100 with its slower but still accurate autofocus.
The X100 isn’t really pocketable…unless it’s a large jacket pocket.
Sony Cyber-Shot RX100 VII
Sony’s RX100 series camera is on its seventh version as of this post. Like the previously discussed Fujifilm camera, the Sony RX100 has kept a few key characteristics in place throughout the life of the camera — the small, pocketable body, the 20-megapixel 1-inch sensor and the Carl Zeiss lens.
Lens specs have changed over the years. The latest entry, the RX100 VII, sports a 24-200mm (35mm equivalent) f/2.8-4.5 lens. A number of earlier models have a 24-70mm f/1.8-2.8 lens.
While not as immediately (or ever) user-friendly as the Fujifilm X100, Sony’s RX100 line packs an amazing, versatile set of features into a body that easily fits into a big pocket or small bag.
Ricoh GR III
While the cameras above have enjoyed regular and relatively frequent upgrades, the Ricoh GR has not. Yet it has remained a staple among many street photographers.
The Ricoh GR II was released in 2007. Since then, it has reached legendary status and is often referred to as the perfect street photography camera.
The Ricoh GR III doesn’t change the two most important ingredients in the recipe: a 28mm equivalent f/2.8 lens and an APS-C sensor. Ricoh did spice a few things up, however.
The GR III’s sensor is 24-megapixels, the body is slightly smaller, the rear LCD is touch-sensitive, and there’s three-axis image stabilization.
If none of those new additions matters much to you, the GR II is still an awesome option with a pretty attractive price tag.
Canon G5X Mark II
Something that the cameras mentioned to this point have in common is they keep the same (or very similar) body size and shape through each generation. Not so with the second generation of the Canon G5X.
The G5X Mark II body has been completely overhauled. While the design of the previous generation (which still represents good value for the money, especially on the secondhand market) looks something like a mini DSLR, the Mark II is a bit more svelte, making it more pleasant to carry.
The most impressive thing about this camera? I’d argue that it’s the 24-120mm equivalent f/1.8-2.8 lens. Combined with a 1-inch, 20-megapixel sensor and that’s a lot of imaging power in such a small package.
Should you go with the G5X Mark II, you’ll also get a rear touch screen, optical image stabilization, 4K video and a pop-up electronic viewfinder.
Panasonic Lumix LX100 II
The LX100 II, like its predecessor, features a fast 24-75mm equivalent f/1.7-2.8 lens, a Four Thirds sensor and a built-in electronic viewfinder.
Panasonic has upped the ante with this latest entry by jumping from 12 to 17 megapixels, incorporating touchscreen functionality and adding two additional physical function buttons that make an already user-friendly camera even more customizable.
The camera body remains largely unchanged, which is a good thing. Though the camera won’t fit into pants pockets, the LX100 II is still compact enough to take with you everywhere you go.
What is your preferred everyday carry camera? Let us know in the comments.